Hi, how are you today? It’s Sunday, traditionally the day of rest. Since not everyone gets to stay at home, I have a treat for you. Either to make for your family and loved ones when then come in from work, any day of the week, or just because it is so delicious. A dessert that will make you want to go for a brisk walk afterwards, or snuggle up on the sofa and have a nap. Here is my Amazing Apple Pie.
Rest and relaxation is so important. More so nowadays in our 24/7 world. While life, with work/children/DIY/etc. can sometimes feel as though we are chasing our tails. It is important to take time to stop and rest. Turn off our electrical devices, mentally switch off from all the tasks still to be ‘done’ and simply be. Whether that be playing a board game, reading a book or going for a walk. Rest is good for our mind, body and soul.
I will let you into a secret, once you’ve finished your list of things that MUST be done, guess what? More ‘jobs’ will miraculously appear! So if we take a few hours, or even a whole day to chill out, rest, or spend time doing something, that in itself is relaxing, we will feel soo much better. And be ready to face the world and all the demands that are placed on us.
We were created to work and be fruitful (no pun intended on the Amazing Apple Pie) but also to rest.
Obviously I’m aware many, many people cannot rest on a Sunday. Our Doctors and Nurses, who do such a fantastic job of treating and looking after sick people, don’t just down tools and stop because it’s Sunday. There are millions of people who, without their commitment to providing our security, ensuring our power supplies continue, indeed run our government and many, many more dedicated professions who work around the clock. Far too many to mention here – who ensure the smooth running & care of the population of our Great United Kingdom. To them I give my heartfelt thanks. Just think, Vicars don’t get Sunday off.
Rest doesn’t have to mean just plopping down in front of the telly, although if that’s how you chill out, go for it! Personally I love gardening, gentle gardening, pottering. Planting a few bulbs, deadheading, a little light pruning, nothing that causes me to beak out in a sweat and lands me on the sofa for 3 days, simply because I’ve overdone it. That is not rest, I’ve learned the hard way!
Baking is right up there with gardening as a form of relaxation. Gentle pastry making, not frenetic mid-week meal cooking, followed by mums taxi running one child to piano, my lil man to scouts, not to mention the impossible task of getting a filthy rugby kit washed, dried, ironed and ready by the next day. I don’t even own a tumble drier!
So to my recipe for scrumptious Amazing Apple Pie: am I stressed Noooo. I find the whole process relaxing – if you find that strange – that’s ok. You do what you must to relax, I bake or garden!!!!
You will need a 9-10″ glass pie dish ( the glass really does make a difference – the bottom of the pie doesn’t go soggy – don’t know why – but glass seems to conduct the heat better, resulting in a pie that is baked evenly on the bottom as well as the top! Anyhow it works!!!
Recipe: Amazing Apple Pie serves 6
For the pastry:
350g/12 oz Plain White Flour
1/4 tsp Sea Salt – I use Maldon
75g/3oz Unsalted Butter – cold & cubed
75g/3oz Vegetable Shortening – cold & cubed (or broken into similar sized chunks as the butter) I use Trex
1 Free Range Egg, whisked with 1 tbs of water – for egg wash
1tbsp Demerera Sugar – I use Billingtons
For the filling:
600g/1lb 4oz weight of peeled Apples – Tart varieties (such as Granny Smiths, or cooking apples such as Bramleys) are best, but windfalls of any variety can be used
2 tbs Corn flour also called corn starch
1 Large Lemon – juiced
2 tbs Vanilla sugar or caster sugar & 1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Nutmeg
Method: Preheat oven to 200C/180C fan, 400F, gas mark 6
To make the pastry:
Place all the ingredients into a bowl (of stand mixer if using, with paddle attachment), using a pastry cutter, or your fingers, quickly rub/cut/blend the fat into the flour until the mixture resembles lumpy breadcrumbs – pea sized pieces of fat should still be visible.
Add enough cold water – 1 tbs at a time until the pastry JUST comes together, stirring with a butter or palette knife. Just as the mixture starts to clump go in with your hands and gently & quickly bring the clumps together into a ball.
Place the pastry onto some cling film, pat out to form a disc & then cut the disc in half, reshape each half back into a disc. Wrap each half in cling & place in the fridge for at least 30 mins to allow the pastry to relax.
NOTE : Whilst the pastry is resting you can prepare the filling – see below.
Once the pastry has rested remove it from the fridge & place 1 disc on a clean floured surface. With a lightly floured rolling pin start rolling, using even outward motion & turning the disc, adding small amounts of flour so that the pastry doesn’t stick.
When the circle looks wide enough to fill the pie dish, will a small amount of over lap, place the pastry into the UNGREASED pie dish, so that the excess pastry drapes slightly over the edges of the pie dish.
Please don’t worry, if you have followed the recipe & are using a glass pie dish IT DOES NOT need greasing. There is enough fat in the pastry for it not to stick. If you have used a different type of pie dish I would play it safe & butter it first.
For the filling:
Peel, core and quarter the Apples. Slice the quarters into 3.
Place the prepared apples into a bowl and pour over the lemon juice, cornflour, sugar and spices. Using clean hands toss the apples so that each piece is covered in the lemony, gooey mixture.
Place the apple mixture onto the pastry base.
Using a pastry brush, lightly brush the outside edge of the pastry with egg wash.
Remove the 2nd pastry disc and roll out as before, ensuring when placed on top, the circle of pastry slightly overlaps the top of the pie.
Using a sharp knife carefully trim the excess pastry. Then either using a fork or your forefinger and thumb, press the lid of the pastry to seal it around the rim to the bottom layer.
Make a few snips in the top of the pastry, to allow any steam to escape.
If you want to be creative, make leaves, berries, whatever you want to decorate the top of the pie, making sure you don’t cover the slits in the pastry up.
Brush the top of the Amazing Apple Pie with egg wash and then sprinkle the Demerera Sugar over the top of the pie. This adds an extra crunch and very mild toffee flavour. Put the pie dish onto a baking sheet and place in a preheated oven. Bake for 50-60 minutes. The pie is cooked when it is a gorgeous golden colour, on top and underneath.
Remove from the oven and let the pie rest for 15 minutes, this will make it easier to slice.
Serve this Amazing Apple Pie with Luxury Homemade Vanilla Bean Custard, cream, vanilla ice cream (or all of them!!!!) and a big smile. Wait for a minute and you will, in the moment of the first mouthful become the most popular, loved person in the room.
If you have enjoyed this recipe for Amazing Apple Pie you may also like these:
This pie cries out to be shared with family, friends and loved ones alike. It’s also worth considering popping across the road to the gentleman who recently lost his wife and sharing a slice of pie with him.
Sometimes, when we are stumped by what to say, our actions can convey more than words ever could.
Until next time, challenge yourself to share with someone who is outside of your comfort zone. You may just make somebody else smile?
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